This is ‘Wakefield Pride’, our journey began in 2005. Join us as we unveil the story behind the scenes – a tale of resilience, unity, and the birth of a thriving LGBT+ movement that now proudly echoes through the businesses, homes and streets of Wakefield.
‘Wakefield Pride not Prejudice’ as ‘Wakefield Pride’ was initially called, originated from a request from the youth group ‘Fruitbowl’ to organise an LGBT+ Pride event in Wakefield.
Pride’s initial aims were hastily etched onto the back of a beer mat in the lounge of ‘The Rainbow’ Public House. This moment set the foundation for present-day ‘Wakefield Pride’, an initiative fuelled by a dedicated collective of volunteers striving to amplify the voice of Wakefield’s diverse community.
An article placed in Yorkshire’s Queer Magazine ‘SHOUT’ asked for volunteers to meet at the ‘MESMAC’ offices in January 2005 and the committee was formed and was developed in conjunction with ‘Wakefield Council’, the ‘Primary Care Trusts’, the ‘West Yorkshire Police Authority’, the owners of two local gay venues in the city, ‘VOX’, the Men’s Sexual Health Project (MESMAC) and members of the LGBT+ community.
A working group came together and organised a programme of activity and the first LGBT+ Pride in Wakefield was held in 2005, it was a great success. Development of the group continued with a formal constitution and election of officers took place with the aim of running a Pride event every year.
The group decided to organise a parade through the streets of Wakefield and to put on an afternoon of entertainment with free and open access to the public. The principal aim was to celebrate the diverse cultures and lifestyles of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender plus other identities (LGBT+) community in Wakefield to challenge the stereotypes, break down barriers and build bridges with the community at large.
The first event was a great success, with approximately 2000 people attending and about 1000 people joining the march through the city centre. The event has continued to grow each year, even gaining charitable status. The organisation has had several requests to intercede on people’s behalf in reporting hate crime incidents to the Police and asked to advise on various legal issues relating to employment and housing. The group also received a request to participate in an awareness-raising workshop for ‘Wakefield and District Housing’.
Over the course of its history, ‘Wakefield Pride’ has received accolades, including a Royal honor and the title of “Best LGBT Community Pride Event – West Yorkshire” at the 2023 SME Northern Enterprise Awards, along with various other prestigious awards.
In the following years, and due to mainly logistical reasons ‘Wakefield Pride’ has took place across various locations including The Cathedral Precinct, ‘The New Union’ on Almsgate, ‘The Rainbow’ on Lower Warrengate, ‘Trinity Walk’ shopping centre and Borough Road car park. Even with these altering locations the same essence as drafted on that original beer mat still endures.
Embraced by a formal constitution, elected representatives, and a commitment to host an annual Pride event every second Sunday in August, ‘Wakefield Pride’ has stood tall since 2005. Despite changing faces, committees, and names, our unwavering mission persists – to take pride in who we are.
Join us on this celebratory journey of diversity and community building, as ‘Wakefield Pride’ continues to break down barriers and strengthen the bonds that make our city prouder. Together, let’s champion unity and celebrate the spirit of a more vibrant Wakefield.